Schnitzel mit mir machen! In this recipe, I provide methodologies taught by Austrian family members and methods that I have adopted as my own (labeled authentic and unauthentic). There are some slight variations, as in how to season the flour vs. bread crumbs, what type of oil to use for frying, and so on. At the pictures on the bottom, you will also see fried mushrooms. We often are eating these together – the process is the same and they are also good with a squeeze of lemon and a dash of sea salt. I definitely recommend making Austrian Potato Salad to accompany your meal. The brightness of the acidity really carries with the schnitzel and is a classic side dish. Mahlzeit!
- Veal (the Viennese option), pork, or chicken breast
- Eggs (typically 1 per 3 cutlets)
- Fine bread crumbs (Semmelbrösel): how to make them here
- The fine bread crumbs are authentic, but it’s also an option to use panko breadcrumbs or to use a combination of both
- All-purpose or 00 flour
- Milk (optional)
- Salt, pepper
- Neutral oil (i.e. sunflower, vegetable oil, etc.)
- Do not use olive oil – the flavor will not be correct
- Serve with lemon wedges
- Equipment: pot or deep pan, tongs, mallet
- Butterfly or entirely halve the cutlet; if derived from a whole cut of meat, cut thin slices
- With a mallet (or heavy item like the back of a ladle), pound the meat thin on both sides.
- Set up your dredging station:
- Authentic: seasoned with salt & pepper
- Unauthentic: leaving plain & seasoning the breadcrumbs, instead.
- Very well beaten, (optional: with a dash of milk, to stretch your eggs)
- Bread crumbs
- Authentic: plain;
- Unauthentic (and preferred): season the bread crumbs INSTEAD of the flour with salt and pepper (also with garlic powder & paprika, if you wish)
- Coat the meat in the flour, pressing into the crevices and shaking off excess.
- Dip the meat into the beaten eggs, making sure it has been entirely covered, and allow the excess to drip off.
- Lastly, press the breadcrumbs into the meat on both sides. Again, shake off any excess.
- Choose whether you will fry the meat in a deep pan or a pot (I prefer to fry the meat in a pan. It uses less oil and crisps the meat so beautifully. In a pot, you have the effect of deeper frying as the meat becomes submerged.)
- Heat either your pot or pan, adding the oil once heated;
- To test if the oil is ready, flick a few droplets of water into the oil, and if it pops, you are ready;
- It shouldn’t bubble too violently, just at a sizzle in order to let the meat cook through. If it is too hot, remove the pan from the burner or lower the heat.
- Place the meat into the pot or pan, 1 or 2 pieces at a time. Do not crowd the space: it is better to do one at a time rather than allow the meat to fry too close together.
- Flip once golden brown underneath, and remove once it is done on both sides. Remove and place over a paper towel to soak off excess oil; you can turn the oven on low, place a paper towel in an oven-safe dish, and keep your schnitzel warm here until the frying is completed.
Serve with lemon wedges. Austrian potato salad and cucumber salad are always encouraged. Citrus and acidity best complement the schnitzel.
Authentic Austrian Schnitzel is as simple as that. My mother-in-law taught me the process last year and we enjoy it often as a family. It’s a great family meal, although it’s simple to make for one or two people. Leftovers are the greatest – they make an incredible sandwich (on a Semmel roll, if you want to stick to the Austrian theme) with mayonnaise.